Lloyd Nick, founder of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art and its director for 19 years, has passed away. He was with his loving wife, Vanya, in Sofia, Bulgaria at the time of his passing in September 2020.
Sofia was a beloved place for Lloyd and his wife, who would often summer there while enjoying outdoor shopping, strolling through the arts centers and visiting the Black Sea.
Lloyd was a lifelong patron of the arts, devoting his career to creating and teaching. He arrived at Oglethorpe University in 1984, where he served as a professor of art and until he retired in 2012.
It was in March of 1993 that he would found the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, after the third floor was completed on Lowry Hall. During his tenure as director, he was responsible for numerous exhibitions. Among the most memorable were “The Mystical Arts of Tibet Featuring Personal Sacred Objects of the Dalai Lama,” a collection of Tibetan artifacts that drew thousands of patrons, including the Dalai Lama himself, and “The Sacred Round: Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung,” a first-of-its-kind exhibition and Lloyd’s last before retirement. It debuted 40 never-before-seen mandalas drawn by patients of famous psychologist Carl Jung. Lloyd’s tenure as director of the museum helped put OUMA on the map as a local, expertly-curated destination for the arts.
Prior to his tenure at Oglethorpe, Lloyd developed and chaired several other art departments at universities including Methodist College in Fayetteville, North Carolina and American College of Monaco, where he was also Dean of Students.
An artist himself, Lloyd’s mediums included painting, drawing and stone lithography. Over a 20-year period he developed a horizontal landscape format, which drew from both eastern and western historical-philosophical concepts and proportions, including use of the “golden section.” His landscapes were the focus of his art. The dazzling depictions of golden sunsets and sprawling cloudscapes captured a sense of peace and nostalgia — or “the spiritual,” as he liked to call it — in all of his work.
His works are included among numerous international, private and corporate collections, including those of Princess Grace of Monaco, British pianist Moura Lympany, AT&T, Barclays Bank, NCNB, Burlington Industries, Duke University Medical Center, and East West Foundation.
During the 1970s he received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to research the creative aspects of Claude Monet’s landscape painting in New York, Chicago and Giverny, France. Also in the 1970s he painted and exhibited regularly in Europe, and represented the U.S. in an international painting seminar in Ljubljana, Slovenia (former Yugoslavia). In Bulgaria, he was the first American to have a one-man exhibition since World War II.
Lloyd Nick left an indelible mark on the Oglethorpe community, both for his service in the arts and for his companionship.
Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson, who succeeded Lloyd in 2012, says, “Lloyd‘s passion and vision created a remarkable and unique university museum in OUMA, which we are incredibly fortunate to have as his legacy. Particularly now as we begin to emerge from the darkest days of the pandemic, I have thought quite a bit about Lloyd‘s deep interest in meditation, Buddhism, arts of the Far East, and the museum as a place of healing. It is good to know he was in his final days with those he loved and in a place that held special meaning for him. I hope that all who knew him well are comforted.”